It can be hard to picture how your diet may change with zero waste, veganism, or any lifestyle change so hopefully this can give you an idea of one way in which that is possible and the ingredients you may be able to get.
Firstly let's look at zero waste; though it of course varies depending on where you are, generally speaking there are a few items commonly found in bulk or loose. Fruits and vegetables can often be found at markets, fruit and veggie shops, and supermarkets loose. Buying most of your produce loose is a great way to shop zero waste and is relatively accessible to many of us around the world. Bread is usually sold loose at local bakeries, they often use paper bags or even better you can bring your own and buy it package free. Items that are commonly sold in bulk around the world include grains (rice, barley, millet), legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas), and nuts. Use your own bag and you've got yourself zero waste food! I'm in Australia at the moment and all the produce in this post was bought at a local fruit and veggie shop package free.
That leads me onto veganism. Even if you just want to explore plant-based eating these may be the things you want to look out for. I try to get something from each of the (non-animal) food groups everyday (like most people, obviously). I generally have some type of nut or seed everyday which are good sources of fat and sometimes protein, a variety of fruits and vegetables with more focus on the veggies for various nutrients, 1-2 cups of legumes for protein, and some type of grain. I also recommend taking a B12 supplement along with other supplements you may deem necessary. I supplement B12, vitamin D3 as it can be harder to get on a vegan diet, and calcium as I've found I don't eat a lot of calcium rich foods.
With that being said, here's what I eat in a day! Bare in mind everyday is different and I'm a normal person, this is an example of a good day for me that encompasses dishes I generally have.
firstly breakfast! I had two slices of homemade peanut butter on light rye toast. The peanuts were bought package free and the toast in a paper bag (that will get composted). I also had some oat milk and granola. The oat milk is from a tetrapak but I am travelling and decided earlier that I would buy it instead of making it, the granola is also not package free as it's made by a family member I'm staying with. This is a pretty typical breakfast for me; I often have peanut butter as it's a good source of fats and protein and usually with a slice of toast as the varieties I eat (whole wheat, rye, sourdough) are also good sources of protein.
Today was a quick lunch but I had two slices of toast with homemade hummus, avocado, and baby spinach. The hummus is obviously made of chickpeas which are a legume and a good source of plant protein. Avocado is a good source of fats and spinach is a good source of vitamin A and C. I eat hummus a lot, it's a big love of mine, and baby spinach is actually something I've been getting into recently. I tend to not eat loads of avocados because they are not grown locally in Hong Kong but am taking full advantage of it here as they are! This mix can also be done as a wrap or salad. Today my dinner reflected more accurately what I usually have for lunch which is often salads. I tend to have 4 veggies ~ common ones being tomatoes (sun-dried too), celery, carrots, peppers, cucumber, baby spinach, and potatoes ~ with a big chunk of beans, my favourites being chickpeas and broad beans, with some nuts, olives etc. If Alex is cooking lunch we also like to have light pasta's and noodles. Couscous salads are also something I often have.
Dinner was made by my wonderful aunt and uncle tonight but reflects a pretty standard meal for me. Like I said I generally have salads more for lunch, but I do often have roasted potatoes for dinner, and if I'm coming home from an intense day salads are a go to because they are easy. If I don't have a legume at lunch I will almost always try to get it into dinner. Common dinner's for me include vegan chilli (kidney beans w/ veggies and tomato sauce) with potato or pasta, soups (minestrone is good because you can add legumes), pasta (pesto, olive paste), and rice with steamed vegetables. The chilli and soups are easy when you are busy because you can make them in large batches and then reheat.
Below is a screenshot of the cronometer results for my day, but I ate two servings of everything for dinner which is a lot for me hence why some of them are over. Cronometer is free and helps when transitioning to a vegan diet (or a less processed one, which is often the case with zero waste) in understanding what foods have what nutrients and how much you need to eat to get the RDI.
I hope this can show that it doesn't take too much energy to shop zero waste and eat plant-based as long as you know a few basic things, it becomes habit quickly, and of course there is no such thing as perfection so don't stress! If you have any questions you can message me on instagram or comment below, n if you like this content tell me! I'll do more!